audi a3 facelift 07
I Think These Cars are Ugly
Granted, if you are the type of person who finds the Nissan Altima to be too out there of a design then perhaps the A3 and 1-series probably arent for you. People like these are far more likely to buy a Camry because they are safe. The 1-series is a challenging design that appeals to people that can see shades of the classic 2002ti and 320i in its unique shape. The 1-series, as it only comes in coupe form, is perfect for a sporty single person or a couple who loves to take long road trips.
The A3, on the other hand, is a far more practical proposition. Most family cars sold in Europe are, in fact, five door hatchbacks. Appearing almost like a mini-station wagon, the Audi A3 is perfect for any small family. Fold down the rear seats and the A3 becomes a commodious moving van. A moving van that can go 0-60 in around six seconds, that is.
There Arent Enough Options Available on These Cars
Both the A3 and 1-series can be equipped as meagerly or opulently as the buyer desires. The 1-series has two engine options. Both are 3 liter 6 cylinder engines but only the 135i comes with twin turbos. But in all honesty most people would probably find the 230 horsepower 128i to be fast enough for their needs. Only true lead foots need apply for the 135i. Make my 135i a manual transmission model please! Automatics are, sacrilegiously, available on both 1-series models. Fans of BMWs idrive system will need to fork out a couple grand on a built in navigation system. Or keep the purist nature of the 1-series interior intact and spend $200 on a Garmin navigator. Seriously, how often do you use the navigator in your car now?
The A3 comes standard with leather and can be optioned with a navigator and even an OpenSky system that turns the entire roof into glass. OpenSky is a must for anyone with children. They will just love being able to see everything that passes over their little heads. Those with a fear of a clutch pedal have the option of specifying the DSG double clutch automatic transmission. This transmission is so fast that it actually betters the 0-60 times of the manual transmission model. This transmission is the only automatic on the market that can keep a fan of self-shifters happy. It really is that good.
These Cars Arent That Much Cheaper Than the A4 and 3-series
While this was true of the 1-series when it first came out, BMW has come out swinging with a number of unbelievably generous lease and financing specials. When compared apples to apples, a 1-series should be at least $6,000 less than a comparable 3-series. Also keep in mind that every new 1-series comes standard with 4 years/40,000 miles of free maintenance including pricey brake pads and rotors.
The A3 is also offered with myriad finance and lease deals ensuring its place as a bargain hunters paradise. Also remember that these lease ad finance deals arent just for the impossible to find stripped out models. The special deals are usually on models with automatics and either a premium or sport package. And at this level there really is little else that any drivers needs. Again, for both of these models I highly recommend buying a Garmin navigator rather than investing over $2,000 in the factory unit.
Are you still not convinced these entry level cars are worthwhile?
Some people just cannot handle driving anything that is not top of the line. For these people I say, go ahead and spend your kids college fund on an over-engined, over-gadgeted and obnoxious 7 series on Godzilla tires and use your work funded HMO policy to get some quality psychiatric care. Not everything in life is better when you buy the bigger and pricier model. If driving a car with over the top size and power is that important to you then perhaps Dr. Freud should have a word or two with you.
For the rest of the world, perhaps the lesson to be learned from this economic crisis is that sometimes less is more. Just because you have not as many buttons on your dashboard and your car is a little smaller does not mean you are less of a success. And it definitely doesnt mean you arent having fun driving your new car. The BMW 1-series and Audi A3 may exist at the bottom of the manufacturers price lists but they should exist at the top of any driving enthusiasts new car shopping list.